Are you worried that you may experience bruising after plastic surgery? If so, your surgeon or a friend may have recommended that you take Arnica Montana as a natural bruise treatment.
This brief article provides you with information on this natural remedy along with guidelines on how to select the Arnica Montana formulation that is best suited for your needs.
What is Arnica Montana?
Arnica Montana is daisy-like plant native to Europe, Asia and North America that is sometimes referred to as the “mountain daisy” or “leopard’s bane”. This perennial plant grows 1-2 feet with flowers that resemble daisies.
Fresh and dried arnica flowers have been crushed and used for medicinal purposes since the 1500s to treat a number of ailments including stomach aches, insect bites, bruises, swelling, sprains and sore muscles.
While there are a variety of different products and uses for arnica, homeopathic Arnica Montana is the most common preparation designed for use as a natural treatment for bruising. Arnica cream and Arnica tablets are two of the most popular forms of this supplement.
How Does Arnica Montana Help Bruising?
The Arnica Montana plant contains compounds that are especially important for the reduction of bruising and swelling from soft tissue injury.
Arnica is believed to increase the flow of blood around bruised tissue causing escaped fluids to be absorbed by the body. The absorption of the fluids makes black and blue marks go away faster and reduces the swelling by relieving the pressure on nerve endings.
Generally, arnica is used topically because it can be toxic when consumed, except in homeopathic preparations. Homeopathic Arnica Montana tablets are safe when taken as directed.
Herbal Arnica vs. Homeopathic Arnica
Arnica Montana is the botanical herb from which a wide variety of products can be made including teas, creams & lotion, pills, tablets or liquids. In herbal preparations, Arnica Montana taken orally can cause problems. However, in its homeopathic form, Arnica Montana has been safely used for hundreds of years to treat bruising and swelling.
What is Homeopathy?
Homeopathy is a school of alternative medicine developed over 200 years ago by Samuel Hahnemann, M.D. in Germany. Homeopathy is based on the doctrine similia similibus curentur, literally meaning “like cures like”. Basically, a substance that causes symptoms of disease in healthy people will cure that disease in people who are ill.
The belief is that our bodies have natural defense mechanisms to aid in healing. This is often reflected as symptoms. While prescription medications tend to suppress symptoms, homeopathic medications try to elicit them. This approach helps to heal the body faster and is intended to stimulate a person’s overall resistance to infection.
Another principle of homeopathy is that the healing power of a medicine can be increased or potentiated while reducing its toxicity. In other words, the healing power of a substance is increased at the same time its concentration is decreased. This is in marked contrast to allopathic medicines that use a greater potency by increasing the amount of a drug given to a patient. Each homeopathic medicine is diluted progressively and proportionately. This is accomplished either through shaking (succussion) or crushing and grinding (truturation).
Plants are the primary source for homeopathic medicines but animal products (e.g., honey bee) and minerals are also used. Regardless of their source, homeopathic preparations have been used for centuries in Europe to safely treat a variety of conditions. They are considered to be all-natural medications that work safely without side-effects to gently stimulate healing.
All homeopathics are regulated by the FDA and manufactured in accordance to HPUS – Homœopathic Pharmacopœia of the United States – guidelines to ensure the purity and potency of each product.
Arnica Montana is a Natural Remedy
As a natural treatment option, a homeopathic remedy should not contain any artificial ingredients, colorants or dyes. In fact, single remedy formulations like VitaMedica’s Arnica Montana 30X tablets contain just 3 ingredients: Arnica Montana (active ingredient) lactose and gum acacia (inactive ingredients). Note, lactose-intolerant individuals can take the Arnica Montana tablets without any side-effects due to the sublingual nature of the medicine.
Types of Arnica Montana Products
Today, Arnica Montana products can be found over-the-counter in cream, gel, ointment, tincture, salve and tablet form. For best results, use a combination of oral Arnica Montana and topical Arnica cream.
Measuring Strength or Potency
Homeopathic efficacy is measured in potency, not milligrams. The potency is indicated on the packaging. The most commonly used potencies include 6X, 12X and 30X. If you’re preparing for a plastic surgery procedure, potencies like VitaMedica’s 30X Arnica Montana tablets (bottle or blister pack) are ideal especially for facial plastic surgery.
Is Arnica Taken Before or After a Surgical Procedure?
In accordance with the HPUS, patients are directed to begin taking Arnica Montana immediately following soft tissue injury or a procedure. There is no evidence to suggest that taking Arnica before a procedure will offer greater benefit, although for convenience, dosing may begin the day before your procedure.
How is Oral Homeopathic Arnica Montana Taken?
Due to their delicate nature, homeopathic preparations are always delivered sublingually or under the tongue. When taking homeopathic tablets, drop the tablets into the lid of the bottle (not in your hand) and place the tablets under your tongue. This prevents the medication from rubbing off into your hand.
How Often is Arnica Montana Taken?
Dosing frequency for Arnica increases in relation to the severity of bruising. For a product like VitaMedica’s Arnica Montana Blister Pack, which is designed specifically for injectables and fillers, you will take 2 tablets, three times daily. For larger or more invasive procedures for which VitaMedica’s Arnica Montana 30X bottle may be better suited, you will take 3 tablets, three times per day until bruising subsides.
Bruising After Plastic Surgery
Arnica Montana is ideal for patients undergoing facial surgeries such as blepharoplasty (eyelid lift), nose reshaping and face lift, as well as non-surgical procedures such as Botox®, Restylane®, and Fraxel®.
Both oral and topical arnica is recommended due to the visibility of the face and resulting bruising and swelling.
David H. Rahm, M.D. is the founder and medical director of The Wellness Center, a medical clinic located in Long Beach, CA. Dr. Rahm is also president and medical director of VitaMedica. Dr. Rahm is one of a select group of conventional medical doctors who have education and expertise in functional medicine and nutritional science. Over the past 20 years, Dr. Rahm has published articles in the plastic surgery literature and educated physicians about the importance of good peri-operative nutrition.